Loyalty To Home

“A man who really loves his country will love her in her ruin and degeneration–“England, with all thy faults, I love thee still.” C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

Today Americans celebrate the independence of our nation – and yet we know that many of us are not celebrating. There are reasons, on this 4th of July, to be a bit jaded.  There is much division. Foundational principles seem to be dissipating. We may be disappointed in our leaders, disappointed in our institutions, and disappointed in each other.  There is cause to be pessimistic and angry.  And yet, this is our home. We should love it, be grateful for it. It is a truly sad thing when people start hating their own home, their own countrymen.  Often we seek to convince our pessimistic countrymen, we speak of the many wonderful and unique freedoms and blessings of America, all the reasons we should love Her. Perhaps it would be better to stop looking for reasons and just love her because she is ours.

The idea of loyalty seems increasingly lost in our modern mindset. Yet loyalty is a glue that keeps imperfect people together.  My husband and I teach our children to be loyal to their siblings, “Don’t speak badly about your brother to your friends, be loyal.”  But why loyalty? Family is important, much more important than schoolyard gossip- it is a gift God has given us.  It would be wonderful if our brother was perfect, he isn’t, but he is our brother, and that has to mean something. When we treat our family with respect and loyalty, we can become great. Loyalty is trusting that the “accidents” of our birth are blessings rather than curses. Loyalty grows into strength.

“A mother does not give her child a blue bow because she is so ugly without it.  If men loved [their home] as mothers love children, arbitrarily, because it is theirs, their home in a year or two might be fairer than Florence. People first paid honor to a spot and then gained glory for it.” 

G.K. Chesterton

And so we love America still. We do not shut our eyes to faults, but we love with what seems an irrational loyalty. Chesterton summarizes it well, (his words “our home” is replaced with America)

“My acceptance of [America] is no optimism, it is more like patriotism. It is a matter of primary loyalty.  [America] is not a lodging house in Brighton, which we are to leave because it is miserable. It is the fortress of our family, with the flag flying on the turret, and the more miserable it is the less we should leave it.  The point is not that [America] is too sad to love or too glad not to love; the point is that when you do love a thing, its gladness is the reason for loving it, and its sadness a reason for loving it more. Men did not love Rome because she was great. She was great because they had loved her.”

G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

This loyalty, this patriotism, this “irrational optimism”, as Chesterton calls it, for our homeland is not stupid or naive, it is gratitude and love.  Today as we celebrate America, let us love her, our home, with loyalty. 


Salute the Flag, Norman Rockwell


C.S. Lewis on Patrotism. https://ponderingprinciples.com/2019/08/17/lewis-on-love-of-country/

Child Protégé

If you want a simple way to start enjoying parenthood and your children more – start involving your child in your joys and interests. Yes, your kitchen will be messier if they help you bake. Your fishing trip will be less serene with a questioning toddler at your side. But you will be sharing with a beloved protégé , and building a relationship of common enjoyments. The experience and perspective your child gains is more valuable than a clean kitchen or solitude.

White Doe of Truth

“In this world of lies, Truth is forced to fly like a scared white doe in the woodlands; and only by cunning glimpses will she reveal herself, as in Shakespeare and other masters of the great Art of Telling the Truth, even though it be covertly, and by snatches.” Herman Melville

Herman Melville
Artist Unknown, White Doe in the Woods

We must continually seek out these glimpses of Truth – wherever there is art, beauty, goodness – we will find truth reflected. It is easy, in our modern materialistic and concrete environment, to stop believing Truth even exists. Our culture is degrading into subjectivism and nihilism – modern art and architecture are often either narcissistic or coldly utilitarian. If we take the time to read a novel by Dostoyevsky, listen to a Sonata by Beethoven, read Fairy Tales with our children, travel to and discover a unique culture – we will “snatch” some of these glimpses. Seeking and finding this “scared doe” can bring faith and hope to our perspective.

“For they (art and music) are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.”

C.S. Lewis

“We need to understand the role of art, and stop thinking about it as an option, or a luxury, or worse, an affection. Art is the bedrock of culture itself. It is the foundation of the process by which we unite ourselves psychologically, and come to establish productive peace with others. As it is said, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone” (Matthew 4:4). That is exactly right. We live by beauty. We live by literature. We live by art. We cannot live without some connection to the divine — and beauty is divine — because in its absence life is too short, too dismal, and too tragic. And we must be sharp and awake and prepared so that we can survive properly, and orient the world properly, and not destroy things, including ourselves — and beauty can help us appreciate the wonder of Being and motivate us to seek gratitude when we might otherwise be prone to destructive resentment.”

Jordan B. Peterson

Mother as Saviors

We must never downgrade our role as a mother or our capacity as a woman to produce change in the world. The more pride we take in our mission, the more we reject the absurd notion that motherhood stifles our progress- the more we can let go of the judgement of the world and start shifting the culture. We must stop caring what other women or Instagram followers think of us, we must stop worrying how “impressive” we may come off to the world. The only opinions that matter come from those whose love is constant and unconditional – our family and our God.

You, the average mom, can do more to build a better future than any CEO, any politician, any Hollywood star – you hold the key to the soul of the world – children. Your love, work, and intentional parenting are raising the future.

Tyranny of the Well-Meaning

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. Their very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be ‘cured’ against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.

…If we are to be mothered, mother must know best. . . . In every age the men who want us under their thumb, if they have any sense, will put forward the particular pretension which the hopes and fears of that age render most potent. They ‘cash in.’ It has been magic, it has been Christianity. Now it will certainly be science. . . . Let us not be deceived by phrases about ‘Man taking charge of his own destiny.’ All that can really happen is that some men will take charge of the destiny of others. . . . The more completely we are planned the more powerful they will be.”

C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock
Don’t chat!
Features a verse by Samuil Marshak: “Be vigilant. Walls are listening these days. Chatter and gossip may lead to treason.”
Russian Propaganda Poster, 1941

The Devouring Mother comes in many forms. We must be conscious of our own tendency to over-protect and control our children, but we should also look outside the home for other “Devourers” of free-will. These Devourers may be well-meaning and concerned for our safety, but the end result is the same – the stifling of self-determination. There are times which may necessitate such stifling, but as parents we must make choices for our family, not out of fear or control, but based on truth and the quest for goodness. A world filled with free agents is often a dangerous one, but the alternative is bondage.